Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From Allahpundit's "too good to check" file

I’ve written more than one post over the years touting claims that this guy had died, which is another way of saying that all reports from Iranian dissidents should be greeted with robust skepticism.
But even so, this doesn’t seem that unlikely under the circumstances.

Reports from Iran indicate that the Supreme National Security Council has ordered a complete check-up of the jet which is on standby to fly Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei and his family to Russia should the situation in Iran spiral out of control. The order, to the Pasdaran Revolutionary Guard Corps, was dated on Sunday, 27 December. A fax containing the order was sent to Dutch-based Shahrzad News…

Some Iranian MPs are calling for demonstrators to be sentenced to death. Various opposition figures have been arrested including the sister of Nobel peace prize laureate Schirin Ebadi.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obama finishes 7th on Judicial Watch list of 10 most corrupt U.S. politicians; list includes AG Eric Holder

7. President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration “lowlights” from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s scheme to sell the President’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade "artists" to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of "czars" in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President’s bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control -- through fiat and threats -- large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: “The administration's central activity -- the political allocation of wealth and opportunity -- is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption.” Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors – this is Obama’s “ethics” record -- and we haven't even gotten through the first year of his presidency.

Reason: The worst political decade (on tv) ever

Thomas Sowell: Obama foists his vision on a U.S. population dumbed down by liberal educators

What does calling this medical care legislation "historic" mean? It means that previous administrations gave up the idea when it became clear that the voting public did not want government control of medical care. What is "historic" is that this will be the first administration to show that it doesn't care one bit what the public wants or doesn't want.

In short, this is not about the public's health. It is about Obama's ego and his chance to impose his will and leave a legacy.

This is not the only massive legislation to be rushed to passage in Congress and then left to go into effect slowly. The same political formula was used earlier, to pass the "stimulus" bill to spend hundreds of billions of dollars that the government doesn't have-- and that may well amount to more than a trillion dollars when the interest on the debt it creates is added, for this and the next generation to pay off.

Legislation is not the only sign of this administration's contempt for the intelligence of the public and for the safeguards of democratic government.

The appointment of White House "czars" to make policy across a wide spectrum of issues - unknown people who get around the Constitution's requirement of Senate confirmation for Cabinet members - is yet another sign of the mindset that sees the fundamental laws and values of this country as just something to get around, in order to impose the will of an arrogant elite.

That some of these "czars" have already revealed their own contempt for the values of American society in the things they have said and done only reinforces the point.

In a sense, this administration is only the end result of a long social process that includes raising successive generations with dumbed-down education in schools and colleges that have become indoctrination centers for the visions of the left. Our education system has turned out many people who have never heard any other vision and who can only learn what is wrong with the prevailing vision from bitter experience.

Dave Barry's Year in Review

To be sure, it was a year that saw plenty of bad news. But in almost every instance, there was offsetting good news:

BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.

GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.

BAD NEWS: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.

GOOD NEWS: A lot more people were tweeting.

BAD NEWS: Ominous problems loomed abroad as -- among other difficulties -- the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.

GOOD NEWS: They finally got Roman Polanski.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thomas Sowell: Politicized "science" has too much invested to give up disgraced global warming yarn

Today, politicized "science" has too big a stake in the global warming hysteria to let the facts speak for themselves and let the chips fall where they may. Too many people — in politics and in the media, as well as among those climate scientists who are promoting global warming hysteria — let the raw data on which their calculations have been based fall into the "wrong hands."

People who talk about the corrupting influence of money seem to automatically assume that it is only private money that is corrupting. But, when governments have billions of dollars invested in the global warming crusade, massive programs underway and whole political careers at risk if that crusade gets undermined, do not expect the disinterested search for truth.

Among the intelligentsia, there have always been many who are ready to jump on virtually any bandwagon that will take them to the promised land, where the wise and noble few — like themselves — can take the rest of us poor dummies in hand and tell us how we had better change the way we live our lives.

No doubt some climate scientists honestly believe that global warming poses a threat. But other climate scientists honestly believe the opposite. That is why the raw data have had to be destroyed before the latter get their hands on it.

This is tragically the case as regards many other issues, besides global warming, where data are made available only to the true believers and kept out of the hands of those who think otherwise.

Global warming, another scheme foisted on U.S. by social engineers; a wise man saw it coming in 1953

Now, I do not deny to any person the right to make any plan be chooses - whether it be a plan to fly to the moon or a plan to create a superior human being. But I do deny the planner the right to force me, or any other person, to conform to his plan.

We scientific engineers do not need laws to force people to adopt our plans or to buy our products. I believe that each of us s willing to leave the decision to the competitive market where all persons have complete freedom to buy or not to buy, to join or not to join, to invest or not to invest.

But these would-be managers-at-large of society are not willing to extend freedom of choice to others than themselves. They must have the power of government -- the police force - behind their plans or they are helpless. They know that in almost all cases a free people in a free market would reject their wares. That is why they want to abolish the market economy and force people to conform to their plans or to suffer the penalty of fines and imprisonment.

For example, I am an unwilling "stockholder" in the Tennessee Valley Authority. I continue to pay money into that project for the simple reason that the police force will use violence upon me should I refuse. I am willing to sell my share of TVA, and of all similar welfare projects, at a large discount. In fact, I would give my equity to these humanitarians if they would only stop forcing me to subsidize their schemes.

They claim they can "prove conclusively" that the Tennessee Valley Authority is a great financial success which regularly returns a profit to the people of America. If this so, why do they come to Congress almost every year for additional appropriations? Why do they not offer stock in the open market where the people can have a choice?

The answer is simple: A free people would reject the stock. If this were not so, there would have been no reason to make their participation compulsory in the first instance.

These promoters with the public purse have been planning a Missouri Valley Authority and various other such authorities for many years. And they have been using your money to propagandize the gullible into believing that the projects are economically sound; that they will pay back far more than they cost. If this is so, why do they demand that the police force, government, recruit their stockholders?

If pork-addicted congress enacts Obamacare, kiss world-leading medical innovation industry goodby

Mark Steyn: Lesson of terrorist attack over Detroit: government failed again, individuals save the day

On September 11th 2001, the government's (1970s) security procedures all failed, and the only good news of the day came from self-reliant citizens (on Flight 93) using their own wits and a willingness to act.

On December 25th 2009, the government's (post-9/11) security procedures all failed, and the only good news came once again from alert individuals:

"Suddenly, we hear a bang. It sounded like a firecracker went off," said Jasper Schuringa, a film director who was traveling to the US to visit friends.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

White House: Do as we do, not as we say

While Obama, Al Gore and the EPA pontificate about global warming, a special report released by Sen. Coburn (Stimulus Checkup) on the 100 worst Stimulus projects. Listed near the top of the list is:

"4. Research to Develop Supersonic Corporate Jets ($4.7 Million)

Lockheed Martin will receive a total of more than $21 million in federal money-with $4.7 million funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to advance research for supersonic jet travel.27 High ticket costs, fuel-guzzling and the infamous sonic -boom‖ helped doom commercial supersonic travel in the past; the last Concorde jet flew in 2003."

What to blame? Laissez faire economics? Or ever-bigger government?

Manufacturing jobs in U.S.

Government jobs

Another record low for Obama

Friday, December 11, 2009

GOP leads Dems by 4 points on generic ballot

Bill Clinton just got done explaining to Congressional Democrats that the party lost control of Congress in 1994 because they didn’t pass the Hillarycare takeover of the American health-care industry. Gallup gives a clearer reminder today why Democrats got shoved out of power fifteen years ago, and why they risk losing power today. Republicans lead for the first time in their generic Congressional ballot, with a six-point shift from last month putting them four points over the Democrats. But the real action is with the independents:

Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup’s generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month.

The Nov. 5-8 update comes just after Republican victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, which saw Republicans replace Democrats as governors of those states.

As was the case in last Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections, independents are helping the Republicans’ cause. In the latest poll, independent registered voters favor the Republican candidate by 52% to 30%. Both parties maintain similar loyalty from their bases, with 91% of Democratic registered voters preferring the Democratic candidate and 93% of Republican voters preferring the Republican.

Huckabee closes within 1 point of Obama in test

With Barack Obama's approval rating hitting new lows in most polling it should come as no surprise that his leads over potential 2012 Republican opponents are as well. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty all have their best performances relative to Obama in this month's poll and Mitt Romney matches his strongest standing yet.

Huckabee comes the closest, trailing Obama 46-45. It's interesting to note that Huckabee's share of the Democratic vote is up from 11% a month ago to now 16%, but his share of the Republican vote is down from 87% to 83%. There's a similar trend in his favorability numbers.

Although they're pretty much unchanged overall from 36/37 a month ago to 35/35 now, he's dropped from 65% of Republicans seeing him positively to 57% but has increased from 13% to 17% with Democrats. We'll want to see if this trend continues before making any definitive conclusions, but it appears there's some possibility the publicity about his commutation of Maurice Clemmons brought a side of Huckabee out in the national spotlight that made him more popular across party lines but less popular within his own.

Mitt Romney comes next closest to Obama, trailing 47-42, matching his five point deficit from a month ago. His biggest problem continues to be lagging popularity with Republicans- 51% of them view him favorably, well behind Huckabee and Sarah Palin. That's a trend that's existed in our polling for most of the year and could spell trouble when it comes to Romney's prospects of winning the nomination.

Palin has her top showing against Obama, trailing 50-44. That's quite an improvement from March when we first tested the Obama-Palin contest and found her trailing 55-35. What's interesting is that there's been almost no change in her favorability numbers over the course of the year. She was at 39/50 then and she's at 41/50 now. That's a pretty clear sign the tightening has had little to do with her and almost everything to do with Obama's declining popularity.

Journalist asks an inconvenient climategate question; UN guard threatens to oust him

Climate skeptic asks an inconfvenient question

Poll: 61 % oppose Dem health care bill, 36 % favor

A new CNN poll shows 61% opposed to the health care plan currently working its way through the Senate. Only 36% approve of the legislation.

As a point of comparison, last month CNN asked an identical question about the health care legislation under debate in the House of Representatives and found 49% opposed and 46% in favor.

Is spitting out cum after oral sex rude? A public employee addresses the question, in a school

Click on the headline for the answer...

Up by the bootstraps: Sen. Buacus gave $14,000 pay raise to staffer girlfriend Melodee Hanes

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, gave a nearly $14,000 pay raise to a female staffer in 2008, at the time he was becoming romantically involved with her, and later that year took her on a taxpayer-funded trip to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, though foreign policy was not her specialty.

Late last Friday, Baucus acknowledged his relationship with Melodee Hanes, whom he nominated for the job of U.S. attorney in Montana, after it was first reported on the website But he said that Hanes withdrew from consideration for the job when the relationship became more serious. The next day, he dismissed calls for an ethics investigation, saying, “I went out of my way to be up and up.”

Since his announcement, more details of the relationship have emerged, raising questions about a workplace romance between a boss and employee that Baucus tried to keep quiet and also contradicting his explanation for why Hanes’s nomination was withdrawn.

High salaries in government multiplying during recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs

The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules.

"There's no way to justify this to the American people. It's ridiculous," says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a first-term lawmaker who is on the House's federal workforce subcommittee.

Shocker: Pollwise, Barack Obama is followng the same path as Ronald Reagan in the 1980s

I've been struck for some time by the similarity of circumstance between Presidents Reagan and Obama. Both replaced deeply unpopular predecessors. Both enjoyed significant gains for their party in both houses of Congress. Both faced "worst since the depression" economic circumstances. And each in his own very different ways attempted to reshape government in the early months in office.

With a bit more than 10 months of approval data on Obama, we can now make a more meaningful comparison than was possible at the first 100 days look.

The similarity of approval trajectories is striking for Reagan and Obama. Reagan started lower, but since the 3rd month of office the two have moved along quite similar paths.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Strange light over Norway was Russian missile

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia admitted on Thursday another failed test of its much-touted Bulava intercontinental missile, after unusual lights were spotted in Norway across the border from the launch site.

The submarine-based Bulava (Mace) missile has been billed as Russia's newest technological breakthrough to support its nuclear deterrent, but the repeated test failures are an embarrassment for the Kremlin.

The missile failed in its 13th test on Wednesday morning, Russia's leading economic dailies Vedomosti and Kommersant reported on Thursday, quoting sources in the military-industrial complex.

Hours later, the Defense Ministry admitted the failure, saying the launch had been made by the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear submarine from a submerged position in the White Sea.

"It has been established ... that the missile's first two stages worked as normal, but there was a technical malfunction at the next, third, stage of the trajectory," a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Dems find someone to blame for Obama's failures

In 1998, when the Clinton White House found itself in the middle of the Lewinsky scandal, one of its key defense strategies was to attack the conservative philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife as the dark power behind the allegations against the president. The Clinton camp believed Scaife to be "the Goldfinger of the right-wing conspiracy," as Newsweek put it in a February 1998 report.

Now it's the Obama White House that is in trouble. The president isn't engulfed in scandal, but his political fortunes are waning, with historically low job approval ratings for this point in his term and an administration struggling to pass its initiatives, even with big Democratic majorities in Congress. And now, as in the Clinton years, White House surrogates are looking for a billionaire to blame. This time, they've found two.

"The Billionaires Behind the Hate" is the title of a new report published by the Center for American Progress, which is the liberal think tank run by John Podesta, the former Clinton chief of staff who also ran the Obama transition and serves as an outside adviser to the Obama White House. The supposedly hateful billionaires in the article's title are brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, one of the nation's largest conglomerates.

Here''s a financial instrument that's gaining fast; insurance against default on U.S. bonds

Are your U.S. Treasury bonds safe?

On its face, the probability of the U.S. defaulting on its spiraling debts seems highly unlikely. But that's not what the markets think. The price of insurance against such a default—using derivatives known as credit default swaps—has jumped by more than 50% in the private market in recent months. According to CMA DataVision in London, a specialist in these contracts, it will now cost you 0.34% of the principal per year to buy default insurance on U.S. government bonds. If you held $1 million in Treasurys, insuring against default would cost you $3,400 for the year. A few months back, insuring those bonds would've cost less than $2,000.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Harem management! It's a skill. Like golf, it takes patience and discipline. Didn't 'Tiger know?

Are Tiger’s mistresses merely cashing in—or did his cheating style spur them to seek revenge? Tracy Quan on clues that the golf star broke the rules of adultery and sealed his own fate.

You may wonder how Rachel Uchitel could be angry with Tiger Woods for playing around with other women, especially when her friends say she's savvy enough to be seeing other men herself. People magazine reports that the golf pro's alleged mistress was "none too happy" about other women he may have been seeing. This isn't as daft as it sounds.

Any man who successfully manages a harem knows he must be on the lookout for such resentments, and prevent them from flaring up. But Rachel's dismay—reports of which may seem odd in light of news that her main function for Tiger was to provide him with other women—looks like part of a pattern. Maybe the problem is Tiger's inability to navigate the choppy waters of erotic attachment. Another alleged mistress, Mindy Lawton, has called Tiger "selfish" and "heartless." If you view all cheating husbands as subhuman, her assessment is to be expected, but I found the comment startling. I don't believe Tiger is truly heartless. If he cultivates a harem without taking responsibility for it, he is, however, careless.

The skills required to maintain a happy harem take practice, patience, and a bit of internal discipline, not unlike perfecting one’s golf game.

Pasha, playboy, or paying customer? A man with an appetite for more than one woman must decide what he wants to be. Philandering men—even celebs—are not uniformly arrogant jerks. Those with a gift for harem management can leave a woman with warm, nostalgic feelings, an afterglow of romantic gratitude. An essential skill for men who choose to cheat, which some are lucky to be born with, is the ability to conduct a love affair without turning the "other woman" into a potential enemy.

Obama's approval rating drops to record low 47 %

President Obama's job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term.

Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and even Richard Nixon all had higher approval ratings 10-and-a-half months into their presidencies. Obama's immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, had an approval rating of 86 percent, or 39 points higher than Obama at this stage. Bush's support came shortly after he launched the war in Afghanistan in response to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


-- George W. Bush, 86 percent

-- Bill Clinton, 52 percent

-- George H.W. Bush, 71 percent

-- Ronald Reagan, 49 percent

-- Jimmy Carter, 57 percent

-- Gerald Ford, 52 percent

-- Richard Nixon, 59 percent

-- Lyndon Johnson, 74 percent

-- John Kennedy, 77 percent

-- Dwight Eisenhower, 69 percent

-- Harry Truman, 49 percent

Mysterious light over northern Norway

Mysterious light appears over northern Norway

Mysterious blue light appears over northern Norway

A mysterious light display appearing over Norway last night has left thousands of residents in the north of the country baffled.

Witnesses from Trøndelag to Finnmark compared the amazing sight to anything from a Russian rocket to a meteor or a shock wave - although no one appears to have mentioned UFOs yet.

The phenomenon began when what appeared to be a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain. It stopped mid-air, then began to circulate.

Holder in NY to prepare for terror trials

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in New York City today to meet with federal prosecutors, the New York City police commissioner and other key officials to prepare for the upcoming Sept. 11 terror trials, ABC News has learned.

A grand jury is already hearing evidence against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Following the issuance of an indictment, which is widely expected, and the arrival of the suspects, including 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a timetable for the trials would be set.

When the suspects will arrive remains uncertain. The Justice Department has to notify Congress 45 days in advance before moving the suspects from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to the U.S. Congressional sources said notification has not yet happened, so the 45 day clock has not yet started ticking.

ABC News has also learned that the New York City Police Department, working with the FBI, U.S. marshals and intelligence agencies assisting, is preparing a detailed security package for the next three years. That security package is believed to be one of the elements Holder is in New York to discuss.

Quinnipiac Poll shows split on Obama, strong opposition to health care reform proposal

American voters give President Barack Obama a split 46 - 44 percent job approval, his lowest ever, and both the health care reform package that he wants Congress to pass and his personal rating on handling health care now win support from less than four in 10 Americans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters disapprove 52 - 38 percent of the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress, and they disapprove 56 - 38 percent of President Obama's handling of health care, down from 53 - 41 percent in a November 19 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh- pe-ack) University.

But voters support 56 - 38 percent giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan, compared to 57 - 35 percent November 19.

American voters trust Obama more than Republicans in Congress to handle health care 44 - 37 percent, down from 45 - 36 percent three weeks ago. Voters disapprove 58 - 30 percent of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job, and disapprove 56 - 33 percent of Democrats in Congress.

American voters say 63 - 30 percent that extending health insurance to all will raise their cost of health care, although they are split 47 - 46 percent on whether they are willing to pay more to make sure everyone is covered. Voters split 48 - 46 percent on whether they think covering everyone will decrease the quality of their own care, but by 71 - 21 percent they do not think universal coverage is worth lower quality of care.

"It's a good thing for those pushing the health care overhaul in Congress that the American people don't get a vote. At this time, supporters are down 14 percentage points," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Almost $6 million of "stimulus" paid to Hillary Clinton's +08 pollster, Burson-Marsteller

Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.

Burson-Marsteller won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television. Nearly $2.8 million of the contract was issued to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, according to federal records.Federal records also show that a former adviser to President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign received nearly $70,000 from that contract to help alert viewers in difficult-to-reach communities that their televisions would soon no longer receive broadcast signals.

The adviser, Alfredo J. Balsera, who heads a public-affairs firm based in Coral Gables, Fla., helped craft Obama’s Hispanic advertising message.

Republicans on Tuesday criticized the federal spending on the advertising project as a waste of taxpayer dollars. They noted that the advertising campaign took place on May 5, only 39 days before the digital television transition was scheduled (June 12)

GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) held a news conference Tuesday to blast 100 “wasteful” projects funded by the $787 billion economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year, concluding that at least $7 billion of the $217 billion spent through November was wasteful and mismanaged.

U.S. wars have been strewn with damaging tactical and strategic blunders

As President Obama moves ahead with his expansion of the war in Afghanistan, history suggests that he has a better chance of being wrong than right.

Judging from the experience of Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, miscalculations about war and peace are all too common. Despite receiving counsel from the best and the brightest in each of their generations, these presidents received poor advice that each should have resisted.

Wilson's Fourteen Points of January 1918, which were an amalgam of high-minded progressive thinking, described a postwar world that was beyond reach: a peace without victors, disarmament, self-determination for nationalities, a world safe for democracy, and an end to war through collective security provided by a league of nations. It was a mirage that did nothing to prevent the rise of Nazism and the onset of another world war.

Truman's miscalculation followed a series of wise steps between 1945 and 1950 in the emerging Cold War. The fact that realistic good sense — containment as played out in the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan — characterized his initial Cold War decisions was no assurance that he would get things right in the Korean conflict. His decision to beat back North Korea's attack on South Korea in June 1950 now enjoys almost universal approval as a sensible extension of the containment response to communist aggression.

Yet the decision to cross the 38th parallel in order to unify Korea under a representative government was a blunder that cost the United States, Koreans and Chinese considerable blood and treasure. Gen. Douglas MacArthur's advice that the Chinese would not enter the fighting if we crossed the parallel and that they would suffer a great defeat if they did, with American troops returning home in a matter of weeks, was the greatest miscalculation of his military career. Moreover, it destroyed Truman's presidency: Unable to end the war or put across the domestic reforms promised in his 1948 election campaign, his approval rating fell to 23%.

Bloated TSA posts screening procedures online

In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers.

The document shows sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate.

The improperly redacted areas indicate that only 20 percent of checked bags are to be hand searched for explosives and reveal in detail the limitations of x-ray screening machines.

"This is an appalling and astounding breach of security that terrorists could easily exploit," said Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security. "The TSA should immediately convene an internal investigation and discipline those responsible."

"This shocking breach undercuts the public's confidence in the security procedures at our airports," said Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., ranking Republican member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "On the day before the Senate Homeland Security Committee's hearing on terrorist travel, it is alarming to learn that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inadvertently posted its own security manual on the Internet."

"This manual provides a road map to those who would do us harm," said Collins. "The detailed information could help terrorists evade airport security measures." Collins said she intended to ask the Department of Homeland Security how the breach happened, and "how it will remedy the damage that has already been done."

Hide the Decline video

With EPA seizure of tax and regulatory power, White House activates doomsday machine

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said yesterday that her ruling that greenhouses gases are dangerous pollutants would "cement 2009's place in history" as the moment when the U.S. began "seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform." She's right that this is an historic decision, though not to her or the White House's credit, and "seizing" is the right term. President Obama isn't about to let a trifle like democratic consent impede his climate agenda.

With cap and trade blown apart in the Senate, the White House has chosen to impose taxes and regulation across the entire economy under clean-air laws that were written decades ago and were never meant to apply to carbon. With this doomsday machine activated, Mr. Obama hopes to accomplish what persuasion and debate among his own party manifestly cannot.

This reckless "endangerment finding" is a political ultimatum: The many Democrats wary of {imposing} huge new costs on their constituents must surrender, or else the EPA's carbon police will inflict even worse consequences.

The gambit is also meant to coerce businesses, on the theory that they'll beg for cap and trade once the command-and-control regulatory pain grows too acute—not to mention the extra bribes in the form of valuable carbon permits that Democrats, since you ask, are happy to dispense. Ms. Jackson appealed to "the science" and waved off any political implications, yet the formal finding was not coincidentally announced at the start of the U.N.'s Copenhagen climate conference (see above).

Brave Copenhagen scientist demotes humanity and restores sun to its traditional role as global warmer

As the world gathered in the Danish capital for the UN Climate Change Conference, more than 50 scientists, businessmen and lobby groups met to discuss the arguments against man made global warming.

Although the meeting was considerably smaller than the official gathering of 15,000 people meeting down the road, the organisers claimed it could change the course of negotiations.

Sceptics 'may resort to illegal acts to stop climate deal' Professor Henrik Svensmark, a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen, said the recent warming period was caused by solar activity.

He said the last time the world experienced such high temperatures, during the medieval warming period, the Sun and the Earth were in a similar cycle.

Professor Nils-Axel Morner, a geologist from Stockholm University, said sea level rise has also been exaggerated by the “climate alarmists” using computer models.

He said observational data from lake sediments, coast lines and trees show sea levels have remained stable.

Is the AP trying to shed its cheerleader togs?

President Barack Obama speaks on the economy at the Brookings Institution...

WASHINGTON (AP) - In President Barack Obama's hands, the $700 billion financial rescue fund offers a bit of bookkeeping magic: an opportunity to pay down the deficit while also spending more—thereby adding to it.

Under law, any paybacks to the bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program must be used to reduce the deficit. But in an economic speech on Tuesday, the president sought to have it both ways. Increased repayments from banks to the Treasury will reduce the deficit all right, but it will give Congress the budgetary room to spend more—and the president encouraged just that.

"There are those who claim we have to choose between paying down our deficits on the one hand, and investing in job creation and economic growth on the other," Obama said. "But this is a false choice."

To be sure, governments spend money during recessions to prime the economy, and they must be wary not to pull back too soon or to spend too long. But TARP returns are required by law to be used for deficit reduction. Yet if banks can help lower the deficit through one program, Congress can bump it up elsewhere.

What's more, even under Obama's rosier expectations the $700 billion TARP would still add $141 billion to the deficit.

It wasn't the president's only attempt at having his cake and eating it, too, in his speech.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New word or phrase

New word or phrase: watermelon marxist

One who pursues global warming remedies as a vehicle to control individuals and large sectors of the economy, even after temperatures have been falling for a decade, can be described as a watermelon marxist: green on the outside and red on the inside.

Zo: Global warming is religion, and government mandating remedies is unconstitutional

Like Tiger Woods, Barack Obama is a well-crafted image and is "falling rapidly to earth"

If I were watching the public's disgust with the newly revealed Tiger Woods from an office in the West Wing, I'd be concerned. Because Barack Obama is about as completely manufactured a political character as this nation has seen. His meteoric rise, without the inconvenience of a public record or accomplishments, and the public's willing suspension of critical evaluation of his résumé allowed his handlers and the media to project whatever they wanted to on his unfurrowed brow.

Ironically, the parallels have nothing to do with race. The Obama campaign did explicitly attempt to borrow from the then-universal Tiger Woods appeal to allay any discomfort voters might have had with a mixed-race politician. They constructed a persona that would make the American electorate comfortable with a barely-known, first-term senator with a left wing voting record, a deliberately obscured personal and professional past, and no traditional qualifications for high office.

After a year in the spotlight, Barack Obama, hailed as a brilliant man and a creature of destiny who would heal us all, is himself falling rapidly to earth. (Thankfully, his family life remains above suspicion.) The flaws that were airbrushed out of the candidate photos are becoming glaringly obvious under day-to-day scrutiny of his public performance in the White House.

And while it doesn't matter if another athlete is an adulterer, it matters a lot if the president is revealed to be an inexperienced, excessively ideological, and weak man who is naïve about the world and uncomfortable exercising American power during a time of war. It matters if nothing in his training would have equipped the president to understand what it takes to stimulate job growth, or ameliorate a recession, or to end an overseas conflict successfully. It matters that he is uninterested in the science behind global warming -- and wishes to use the issue to amass power and reorder society. It matters that he has no interest in the construction of policy.

Ultimately, Woods is an exceptional golfer with a character problem. Barack Obama, by contrast, is not an exceptional, or even particularly competent, leader. But because so many politicians, interest groups and factions have an interest in his continued presence, no one is ready to reveal the man behind the curtain just yet.

But many voters from both the center and the far left who believed in the Obama magic are increasingly dismayed by watching the human god fall to earth. This is a major problem because, as Shafer notes, the impulse of the betrayed is to tear their fallen deities to shreds.

With his unpopular agenda in deep trouble in Congress, Obama reaches for the panic button

President Obama’s meetings at the Senate on Sunday, much like his visit to Copenhagen this week, are not indicators of inevitability; they are portents of panic. The reports coming out of the closed door, Democrats-only, meeting of internal divisions that are still irreconcilable, despite the high rhetoric of historic moment, only make the point more vividly: can you say “desperation”?

The sensible Democrats know they are in trouble. They know the American people have lost confidence that the Administration and Congress share their priorities.

While polls consistently show that Americans are increasingly concerned about jobs, reviving the economy, and managing our deficits, the Democrats fixate on health care, a relatively low priority for most Americans and anathema for many in this form. The reforms the Democrats push are themselves unpopular, and for good reason. Americans know that a government takeover of health care will diminish the quality of care, reduce our ability to control our treatment options, and drive up the premium costs for many Americans. It’s not just the health care system that will suffer, but proposed reforms will also cripple one of the few sectors that have been creating jobs during the recession, create multiple new taxes and penalties, and further hamper the economy by creating massive new debt and entitlements.

Krauthammer: EPA may be inviting revolution

Monday, December 7, 2009

Here's a genuine pull the trigger, or not, moment

An organizer for ObamaCare in action

After all this time, there's finally proof; staring at women's breasts is healthy for men

Frankfurt, Germany, December 6 -- A rather bizarre study carried out by German researchers suggests that staring at women's breasts is good for men's health and increases their life expectancy.

According to Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study, gawking at women’s breasts is a healthy practice, almost at par with an intense exercise regime, that prolongs the lifespan of a man by five years.

She added, "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out."

Researchers at three hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany did an in-depth analysis of 200 healthy males over a period of five years. Half the volunteers were instructed to ogle at the breasts of women daily, while the rest were told to refrain from doing so.

At the close of the study, the researchers noted that the men who stared at the breasts of females on a regular basis exhibited lower blood pressure, slower resting pulse rates and lesser episodes of coronary artery disease.

Personal note:

I spent some time in Frankfurt, but obviously my timing was bad. I also spent time staring at women's breasts while in and around Frankfurt. The best place to do that is at Germany's marvelous public swimming pools. You can look even if you're not participating in a scientific study.

Chicago man implicated in terrorism in Denmark, India

It started as an odd case of the FBI raiding a meat packing plant with hundreds of agents and now it's morphed into something much bigger. I've been telling you for weeks this was coming. I guess it just seemed too hard to believe that an American was involved.

Originally David Headley was only charged with plotting to blow up the newspaper in Denmark that published the Mohammad cartoons. That plot seemed rather amateurish and was thought of as aspirational. But it soon became obvious to any one paying attention that Headley also had a hand in India's worst act of terror this decade.

The importance of this being that radical Islamists are now using their American passports to bypass suspicion that would normally be put on them if traveling under, say, a Pakistani passport. They are using their American citizenship to plot and execute terrorist plots abroad.

And this is not too fine a point to make either for Headley was originally born Daood Gilani and only changed his name to make it sound less Muslim and more flyover country American. He also admits he did this to make international traveling easier.

If it's a UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, its limousine time

Gallup: 47 % approve of Obama, 46 % disapprove

According to the latest Gallup tracking poll, President Obama's job approval rating is now at an all time low of 47%, while his disapproval is now an an all time high of 46%.

Obama suffered a net four point loss of support overnight - a noticeably sharp decline for a tracking poll that usually doesn't move more than a point or two in either direction on any given day.

U.S. government designates People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals a terrorist threat

PETA is one of the most controversial activist groups operating today. The group's contentious media campaigns, undercover operations, infamous advertising, and high profile demonstrations have made them perhaps the most notorious--and most polarizing--nonprofit organization there is. But are they terrorists? According to the US Department of Agriculture, they are now.

And right when PETA was about to be able to call it quits, too. The USDA has just released a new security profile form (pdf), which it distributes to animal experimentation facilities. The form reveals that PETA has been classified as a terrorist threat by the US government--potentially opening up its members to prosecution as terrorists. According to Green is the New Red, an eco-activist rights website, the document was given to all facilities that conduct experiments on animals. They were asked to disclose whether they were the target of attacks or harassment from a list of terrorist groups--one of which, evidently, is PETA.

How protection for the spotted owl morphed into a multibillion dollar political money grab

RESERVE, N.M. (AP) - A federal program that began as a safety net for Pacific Northwest logging communities hard-hit by battles over the spotted owl in the 1990s has morphed into a sprawling entitlement—one that ships vast amounts of money to states with little or no historic connection to timber, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.

Nicknamed "county payments," the timber program was supposed to assist counties shortchanged when national forests limited logging to protect the northern spotted owl and other endangered species.

Since becoming law in 2000, the program has distributed more than $3 billion to 700 counties in 41 states with national forests and helped fund everything from schools to libraries to jails.

The federal largesse initially focused on a handful of Western states, with Oregon alone receiving nearly $2 billion.

Spending of that magnitude, though, sparked a new timber war—this one among politicians eager to get their hands on some of the logging money.

A four-year renewal of the law, passed last year, authorizes an additional $1.6 billion for the program through 2011 and shifts substantial sums to states where the spotted owl never flew. While money initially was based on historic logging levels, now any state with federal forests—even those with no history of logging—is eligible for millions in Forest Service dollars.

Doling out all that taxpayer money is based less on logging losses than on the powerful reality of political clout. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is among the program's strongest backers.

Rasmussen Reports: In generic ballot: Tea Party beats Republican,:but Democrat wins

Running under the Tea Party brand may be better in congressional races than being a Republican.

In a three-way Generic Ballot test, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Democrats attracting 36% of the vote. The Tea Party candidate picks up 23%, and Republicans finish third at 18%. Another 22% are undecided.

Among voters not affiliated with either major party, the Tea Party comes out on top. Thirty-three percent (33%) prefer the Tea Party candidate, and 30% are undecided. Twenty-five percent (25%) would vote for a Democrat, and just 12% prefer the GOP.

Among Republican voters, 39% say they’d vote for the GOP candidate, but 33% favor the Tea Party option.

Cato, on lhow to restore government gjrowth

Brand new Afghan policy; same old mission creep

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Americans should expect a significant U.S. military presence in Afghanistan for two years to four years more.

Just as in Iraq, the U.S. eventually will turn over provinces to local security forces, allowing the United States to bring the number of troops down steadily, according to Gates, who appeared on three Sunday talk shows with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss President Barack Obama's new Afghan war plan.

That plan includes an increase of 30,000 U.S. troops, followed by a scheduled transition to a greater role for Afghan forces that would start in July 2011. Obama's plan would increase to 100,000 the number of U.S. troops there, marking the largest expansion of the war since it began eight years ago.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ronald Reagan channels Vladimir Lenin: "Medicine is the keystone of the socialist arch"

It should be a wake, but UN's climate talks in Copenhagen have the usual aura of high life

On a normal day, Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen's biggest limousine company, says her firm has twelve vehicles on the road. During the "summit to save the world", which opens here tomorrow, she will have 200.

"We thought they were not going to have many cars, due to it being a climate convention," she says. "But it seems that somebody last week looked at the weather report."

Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."

And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? "Five," says Ms Jorgensen. "The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don't have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it's very Danish."

The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers.

As well 15,000 delegates and officials, 5,000 journalists and 98 world leaders, the Danish capital will be blessed by the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, Daryl Hannah, Helena Christensen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Prince Charles. A Republican US senator, Jim Inhofe, is jetting in at the head of an anti-climate-change "Truth Squad." The top hotels – all fully booked at £650 a night – are readying their Climate Convention menus of (no doubt sustainable) scallops, foie gras and sculpted caviar wedges.

Why Dems are obsessed with enacting a partisan health care bill strongly opposed by most voters

Voters are increasingly worried about unemployment, but Democratic leaders in Congress remain obsessed with passing health- care reform. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin was asked recently if a health-care bill would pass the Senate by the end of this month. "It must," he said. "We have to finish it."

Still, many in the trenches are uneasy about the sprawling, complex bill they privately acknowledge has no bipartisan support, doesn't seriously tackle soaring costs and will increase insurance premiums. That may explain Majority Leader Harry Reid's haste—he has ordered a rare Sunday session this weekend to hurry up the debate. Public support for the bill averages only 39.2% backing in all polls compiled by

But buried in the surveys is an explanation for the Democratic obsession to pass the bill: An overwhelming 76% of Democrats back it. "They believe the liberal base expects them to deliver and will punish them if they don't," says Democratic pollster Doug Schoen, who worked for Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

That fear is backed up by a new poll taken for the Daily Kos, the left-wing Web site: 81% of self-described Republicans say they are certain or likely to vote in 2010 compared to 65% of independent voters and only 56% of Democrats. "Democrats have simply not been given enough of a reason to come out and vote yet," writes liberal blogger David Dayen. "The left is waiting for that long-promised 'change' they can believe in."

Trial lawyers seek bigger slice of health care pie

Weeks ago, we discussed a provision in the House health care bill that cuts off grant money for states that impose meaningful caps on medical malpractice claims. But that's not the only gift for trial lawyers that is tucked away in the 2,000 pages of the House-passed health care bill.

There are good reasons why plaintiffs' lawyers give so much money to the Democratic Party, and why Linda Lipsen, the top lobbyist for the American Association for Justice, has visited the White House at least five times this year. Trial lawyers' see their political agenda on the advance. After years of playing defense, they are now attempting to overturn five Supreme Court decisions in one year and to add other new provisions into law that will mean more money for them.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The payoff in this video is at the end

A professor at the university in the middle of the ClimateGate scandal called global warming skeptic Marc Morano "an a**hole" on live television Friday.

This marvelously came moments after Andrew Watson, a professor at the University of East Anglia, told the BBC host moderating the discussion that the controversy surrounding e-mail messages obtained from his school's computers is "a real setback not because there's anything wrong with the science, but because the character assassination and the temperature of the debate which you can just see from our colleague in America is just obsuring the important issue."

Less than ten seconds after making this sanctimonious, holier than thou statement, Watson said as the interview came to a close, "What an a**hole" (video embedded below the fold):

Former top climate scientist sentenced for fraud

A former top climate scientist who had become of one the scientific world's most cited authorities on the human effect on Earth's atmosphere was sentenced to probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to steering lucrative no-bid contracts to his wife's company.

In addition to a year's probation, former NASA manager Mark Schoeberl, 60, of Silver Spring, was also fined $10,000 and ordered to put in 50 hours of community service. He admitted in the late summer that he had hid some $50,000 in NASA contracts for a company called Animated Earth, which was run by Schoeberl's wife, Barbara. Prosecutors alleged that Schoeberl tried to help his wife's firm for years. When his colleagues balked at giving no-bid contracts to his wife's firm, Schoeberl pressured them to steer money to his wife through indirect means.

Schoeberl was the chief scientist of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Earth Sciences Division and the head of the Aura Project, a NASA mission to study the Earth's ozone layer, air quality and climate. He has written extensively about the depletion of the ozone level, and the influence of humans on global climate change.

New Black Panther leader defends Holder decision

DALLAS (AP) - The leader of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense says the U.S. Justice Department was right to drop a voter intimidation suit against his group because the case was weak.
New Black Panther Party National Chairman Malik Shabazz says recent attempts to question that ruling are nothing more than a "political witch hunt" Republicans are waging against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Shabazz says his group does not condone voter intimidation and suspended the member who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place with a nightstick during last year's presidential election.

The Justice Department filed an injunction against that man.

Shabazz says he wants to set the record straight as the group's three-day national summit begins in Dallas Friday.

Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus put staffer-companion on list for U.S. Attorney in Montana

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus was romantically involved with a former staffer when he recommended her earlier this year to become the next U.S. attorney for Montana, a spokesman said.

The Montana Democrat and his former state director Melodee Hanes began their relationship in the summer of 2008 after Baucus separated from his wife, Ty Matsdorf said in a statement Friday night, confirming a report in Roll Call.

Baucus nominated Hanes for the U.S. attorney post in March. But she later withdrew, saying she had been presented with other opportunities she couldn't pass up.

The Senate leader who's been a major proponent of Democratic health care legislation had submitted six names to a third-party reviewer, who whittled those to Hanes and two others, Mike Cotter and Mike Wheat. Matsdorf said the senator sent the three names to the White House with no ranking to select a nominee.

Obama's middle finger seems out of control, or sly?

Did House Homeland Security chair shake down credit card issuers? Ethics investigates

At a hearing in late March, the nation's credit card companies faced the threat of expensive new rules from an unlikely regulator: the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

The committee had never before dealt with credit card issues, but Thompson warned Visa, MasterCard and others that Congress might need to impose tighter security standards costing millions of dollars to protect customers from identity theft.

Behind the scenes, some of Thompson's staffers sensed a different motive -- an attempt to pressure the companies into making political donations to the chairman, according to several former committee staffers.

Now the House ethics committee is investigating the propriety of the committee's operations, and whether its members' interactions with companies compromised its work. Within a few weeks of the hearing, Thompson collected $15,000 in donations from the credit card industry and its Washington-based lobbyists, a Washington Post analysis shows. No legislation on card security has been introduced.

Several former committee staffers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have told The Post that the credit card hearing was one of several committee actions that caused staff concerns because of their consideration of potential donors and contractors friendly to Thompson. The current ethics inquiry was prompted this summer, according to an ethics document obtained by The Post, when a former committee aide alleged she was fired after complaining to her bosses that a lobbyist made improper requests of staff members.

As global warming saunters toward Fraud Hall of Fame, Gov. Arnold S. shows S.F. under water

Timing, Arnold; it's all about timing

A map of how California will be affected by climate change in the future was unveiled yesterday by state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The map, which demonstrates the devastating effects of global warming in just a century, shows how San Francisco Airport would be completely underwater if sea levels were to rise by 150cm (60in).

The coastline on the map was also coloured, highlighting how nearly half a million Californians are at risk from rising sea levels

The map, named CalAdapt, which was revealed at a press conference on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay by Mr Schwarzenegger and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, was created as part of a plan for the state to adapt to global warming.

'Within a century, Treasure Island, this place where we are right now, could be totally under water,' the governor said. 'It is technology in the end that will save us.'

CBC rips "intellectual corruption" behind global warming alarmism

Friday, December 4, 2009

Carbon credit trading scandal spreading from Copenhagen

The Obama-Waxman-Markey and Boxer-Kerry global warming cap-and-trade bills now before Congress are modeled in part on the Danish CO2 Quotas Register. But things don't look good for the Danish climate change initiative, according to the Copenhagen Post Online:

"Police and authorities in several European countries are investigating scams worth billions of kroner, which all originate in the Danish quota register. The CO2 quotas are traded in other EU countries.

"Denmark’s quota register, which the Energy Agency within the Climate and Energy Ministry administers, is the largest in the world in terms of personal quota registrations. It is much easier to register here than in other countries, where it can take up to three months to be approved.

"Ekstra Bladet reporters have found examples of people using false addresses and companies that are in liquidation, which haven’t been removed from the register.

"One of the cases, which stems from the Danish register, involves fraud of more than 8 billion kroner. This case, in which nine people have been arrested, is being investigated in England.

"The market for CO2 trade has exploded in recent years and is worth an estimated 675 billion kroner globally."

Carbon cap and trade scandal starts in Copenhagen

Denmark is the centre of a comprehensive tax scam involving CO2 quotas, in which the cheats exploit a so-called ‘VAT carrousel’, reports Ekstra Bladet newspaper.

Police and authorities in several European countries are investigating scams worth billions of kroner, which all originate in the Danish quota register. The CO2 quotas are traded in other EU countries.

Denmark’s quota register, which the Energy Agency within the Climate and Energy Ministry administers, is the largest in the world in terms of personal quota registrations. It is much easier to register here than in other countries, where it can take up to three months to be approved.

Ekstra Bladet reporters have found examples of people using false addresses and companies that are in liquidation, which haven’t been removed from the register.

One of the cases, which stems from the Danish register, involves fraud of more than 8 billion kroner. This case, in which nine people have been arrested, is being investigated in England.

The market for CO2 trade has exploded in recent years and is worth an estimated 675 billion kroner globally

CBC broadcaster Rex Murphy addresses Climategate

Ex-terrorist Bill Ayers "appalled and alarmed" by pal Barack Obama's war making in Afghanistan

Poll: Happy, Healthy Obamas Out Of Touch With Miserable Americans

Cato makes the case , with gusto, against Bush, Obama and Big Government

Thursday, December 3, 2009

White House rejected F-22 as backdrop for Obama

When President Obama spoke to troops at Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base last month, the unit there parked a shiny new F-22 fighter plane in the hangar. But according to multiple sources, White House aides demanded the plane be changed to an older F-15 fighter because they didn't want Obama speaking in front of the F-22, a controversial program he fought hard to end.

"White House aides actually made them remove the F-22-said they would not allow POTUS to be pictured with the F-22 in any way, shape, or form," one source close to the unit relayed.

Stephen Lee, a public affairs officer at Elmendorf, confirmed to The Cable that the F-22 was parked in the hangar and then was replaced by an F-15 at the White House's behest.

The airmen there took offense to the Obama aides' demand, sources told The Cable, seeing it as a slight to the folks who are operating the F-22 proudly every day. They also expressed bewilderment that the White House staff would even care so much as to make an issue out of the fact that the F-22 was placed in the hangar with the president.

A White House official, commenting on background basis, told The Cable that yes, there were discussions about which plane or planes would be in the hangar, but that they were not meant as an insult to the pilots and other personnel who work on the F-22. The official couldn't elaborate on why the White House aides felt it necessary to get involved in the matter in the first place.

The official pointed to Obama's speech to the troops that day, where he praised both the 90th Fighter Squadron, known as the "Dicemen," and the 525th Fighter Squadron, the "Bulldogs," both of which operate the F-22.

Mitt Romney's economic recovery plan

To get people back to work as rapidly as possible and to restore America's economic vitality, the nation must change course. Here's the advice I would give:

• Repair the stimulus. Freeze the funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect them to immediate, private sector job-creation priorities.

• Create tax incentives that promote business expansion and hiring. For example, install a robust investment tax credit, permit businesses to expense capital purchases made in 2010, and reduce payroll taxes. These will reignite construction, technology and a wide array of capital goods industries, and lead to expanded employment.

• Prove to the global investors that finance America's debt that we are serious about reining in spending and becoming fiscally prudent by adopting limits on non-military discretionary spending and reforming our unsustainable, unfunded entitlements. These are key to strengthening the dollar, reducing the threat of rampant inflation and holding down interest rates.

• Close down any talk of carbon cap-and-trade. It will burden consumers and employers with billions in new costs. Instead, greatly expand our commitment to natural gas and nuclear, boosting jobs now and reducing the export of energy jobs and dollars later.

• Tell the unions that job-stifling "card check" legislation is off the table. Laying new burdens on small business will kill entrepreneurship and job creation.

• Don't allow a massive tax increase to go into effect in 2011 with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The specter of more tax-fueled government spending and the reduction of capital available for small business will hinder investment and business expansion.

• New spending should be strictly limited to items that are critically needed and that we would have acquired in the future, such as new military equipment to support our troops abroad and essential infrastructure at home.

• Install dynamic regulations for the financial sector — rules that are up to date, efficient and not excessively burdensome. But do not so tie up the financial sector with red tape that we lose a vital component of our economic system.

• Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment.

• Stop frightening the private sector by continuing to hold GM stock, by imposing tighter and tighter controls on compensation, and by pursuing a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers. Government encroachment on free enterprise is depressing investment and job creation.

Congressman: ACORN "has corrupted the election process in the United States"

This is off topic, but too pithy to ignore

This is off topic, but too pithy to ignore

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Sanford. Now Woods. I see a new reality show, Sex Scandal of the Month, coming soon

Looks like this is the big story of the day, god help us. Young billionaire guilty of “transgressions.” Film at 11.

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.

At current U.S. government spending rate, national debt will equal GOP in 10 years

Budget: Massive deficits as far as the eye can see mean more than just a lot of debt. They mean slower economic growth, fewer jobs and higher prices for decades to come. The only way out: sharp cuts in spending.

To say that the deficits of the current White House are extraordinary and unprecedented is almost to underplay the reality. From 2009 through 2012, we will add as much to the nation's debts as we did in the first 234 years of America's existence.

We're not among those who think deficits are always and everywhere a bad thing. Indeed, if kept small, deficits really don't matter. It's like carrying a small balance on a credit card. As long as it doesn't grow to crowd out other spending, it doesn't matter much.

But the coming wave of deficit spending is alarming by any measure. Over the next 10 years, according to number crunchers at the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. will rack up $13 trillion in debt - an amount nearly equal to our entire current economic output.

This year alone, the deficit will be an astounding 11.2% of gross domestic product, or $1.4 trillion. Over the next 10 years, the deficit will average 5% of GDP. That compares with an average of 2.4% from 1970 to 2008.

Why is this happening? A slow economy, of course, hurts revenues. But the true culprit is spending. In the postwar era, we spent an average of about 20% of GDP on the federal government. Over the next decade, it will average 23.5% - a real gain of 18% a year.

Witnesses testify ACORN diverted federal poverty funds to elect progressive Democrats

People shouldn't think that all ACORN does is help pimps and hookers buy houses, they serve the community in so many other ways, including embezzlement of donated funds, voter fraud, and using tax exempt dollars to help get liberal candidates elected.

Yesterday the Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a forum to discuss ACORN and urge the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Democratic Party's favorite criminal enterprise.

Congressmen Smith and Issa presented documentation indicating that ACORN already transferred many of its resources to several other left-wing advocacy and political groups including several chapters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and possibly Data and Field Services, the Working Families Party, Change to Win and the Council for Unity, and others. Anita Moncrief, former ACORN employee told the panel the organization continually got federal block grants but did not use the grants for helping the poor as promised. Rather, ACORN “used the money to fund the political machine.. Poverty is big business for ACORN.

Keep in mind as the "housing end" of ACORN is a not for profit organization receiving federal funding, it is not allowed to engage in political operations. Moncrief tells of how ACORN shifted money from one to the other all with the intention of electing progressives, the direct connection from the Obama Campaign Committee and ACORN, and the NY Times cover-up of the scandal.

Moribund U.S. economy turns frisky as women line up to claim affairs with Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods was braced for new trouble last night amid reports that at least two women are set to go public with claims that they had affairs with the world’s highest-earning sportsman. a celebrity news website, reported that several women had come forward claiming to have had sex with the billion-dollar golfer, including one who purports to have “explosive” answerphone recordings.

Jaimee Grubbs, 24, a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, tells this week’s edition of Us Weekly magazine that she had a 31-month affair with Woods, starting in April 2007, and that she has more than 300 text messages — some of them described as “racy” — to prove it.

The magazine invites readers to log on to its website today to listen to a voicemail that Woods allegedly left Ms Grubbs on Tuesday of last week, “in which he suggests his wife might suspect he is having an affair”.

Meanwhile a nightclub hostess said to be at the centre of a violent showdown between Woods and his wife insisted yesterday that allegations that she had had an affair with him this year were “just dumb stuff”.